Friday, August 26, 2011

Suomi Finland Tourkele part 8: Zwey Seele Wohnen Ach! In Meiner Brust

8/7 - Wacken

The rain came down so fucking hard through Children of Bodom and Subway To Sally that I was unable to write, and the notebook was so waterlogged as to be unusable until the end of the Berlin phase; three goddamn days out of the jacket, on top of the vents on an old CRT TV to dry out. Things were a little out of order there, but have been rectified in this publication, and despite the wet, I kept going, and got the following shots and observations in.

The rain trailed off in the morning, and I packed up, got breakfast, and packed out.

398. Flaneurisme Wacken; metal hands and windmills in the distance from the breakfast tent.

On the buses out, I got to listen in to some other Wacken experiences; everyone's is different on the surface, but fundamentally the same. We come in, drink heavily, meet new friends and have fun with old ones, grapple with the exigencies of the festival, and yet have a great time seeing awesome bands. Averaging over a sample space of n=70000, this is the Wacken story.

However, Wacken is not so simple. As was more obvious this year than ever, Wacken is a brand underwritten by other brands. It is brought to you by national beer and energy-drink brands, and its distinctive logo is printed on about everything that will carry it. It does promo for punk bands decrying "brand synergy" in synergy with national TV broadcasters. Wacken is a mess of commercialism and self-contradiction....but it is also a mass of 70,000 mostly-anticorporate metalheads, who strain against the bounds of Kommerz to establish their own synthesis of what Wacken should be. In seven years, the meme goes, every molecule in your body is completely replaced. I don't know that I'll be back next year to do the comparison, but I would suspect that the same idea will hold. Already, there is little left of the festival I saw in 2005; "Planet Wacken" exists, but much more as a circumscribed rather than a created space. The DIY tendencies here, weak then, have gotten further limited. Wacken is still a good festival -- this year, musically awesome, maybe even better than '06 -- but it's a huge and commercial festival, and the things that make it cult, rather than just another among German rock festivals, are fading. We'll see if things change, but the only way that things might be altered is if the wave of people drops, then flows crosswise to another festival in defiance of the power law. As long as Wacken sells out, Wacken will keep selling out; a guaranteed max headcount is a recipe for stasis, not change.


I got in from Hamburg in decent order and found my way up to the hotel, which was located directly under the main approach to Tegel. Shutting the windows helped cut down the airplane noise, but the primary concern was like always: shower, eats, sleep.

8/8 - Berlin

Like usual, I went out to do laundry, and since I was feeling like crap, decidd to just go to the known-good laundry in Friedenau rather than mess around trying to find one in my own neighborhood. U6->U9, go.

399. Umbau in der Neidstraße. The feeling of the steel I-beams jutting out where balconies used to be just looked cool.

400-402. Some different views of the church, trees, and clouds at the end of Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz. They're decent as they are, but I'm still not sure the scene eventually came out as intended.

With laundry done, I headed back and ended up sleeping a lot. Sick again.

403. Hotel Bärlin and clouds over Kurt-Schuhmacher-Platz.

404. Dinner. The Lidl by the hotel was out of spoons and forks, so I was restricted to combinations of stuff eatable with a plastic knife. There are people who do this shit, and then there are people who aren't hardcore enough about pack weight.

8/9 - Berlin

Pretty much the entire day needs written off. I was sick to a degree that I hadn't been for a long while; maybe the old hotel, maybe the jet fumes, maybe some strange bug picked up from the nonexistent sanitary environment of the W:O:A. (See previous years' comments about inevitable cholera epidemics.) Regardless, I slept, then got in a lot of groceries to try and retank on nutrients before heading off to another camping weekend. It seemed to kind of work, at least until I woke up coughing at 1 AM. Bad air; it'll heal itself once I get out in the field.

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